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Showing posts from July, 2006

Secret Firefox Trick: Prevent Browser from Stealing Focus

Here is probably one of the most useful Firefox hack that I have encountered in the recent times - it prevents me from lot of frustration and saves lot of time.

Problem Description: Say, you have set Firefox as your default web browser. So when you click an external hyperlink in another application or file like a Microsoft Word document, Adobe PDF file, Outlook email or your desktop newsreader, the corresponding webpage is automatically opened inside Firefox.

Excellent but the problem here is that Firefox browser window takes away the focus from the current application and sends that application to the background. So I have to minimize Firefox each time or click the application icon in the Windows status bar to bring back Microsoft Outlook or Word to the foreground.

Why stealing focus frustrates me ? When I am reading RSS feeds inside a news reader (in my case, FeedDemon) I keep clicking on URLs that I find interesting but at the same time, I want to remain inside my RSS reader. Only wh…

The Wonderful World of Skype Toolbars

Using Skype ? Stop hunting for phone numbers in your documents, email or webpages - just download one of these official Skype toolbars. Highly recommended for Skype Addicts.

Skype Email Toolbar - Available for Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Mozilla Thunderbird. You can call Skype Names and phone numbers written in emails or add a Skype Button to your email signature, so other people can just click to call you.

Skype Microsoft Office Toolbar - Place calls and send the file you are currently working on via Skype. The toolbar recognizes phone numbers within your document, turns them into links and lets you call them using SkypeOut or send SMS messages. (Support Excel, Powerpoint and Microsoft Word 2000/XP/2003)

Skype Toolbar for Mozilla Firefox - The Skype Web Toolbar recognises phone numbers and Skype Names on webpages, so that you can call with one click, through Skype.

The Right Age when Children may be Introduced to Computers

When should we introduce our Tiny-Tots to the cyber world ? How long should they be allowed to work on the internet each day ? These are some of the most commonly asked questions by young parents. BBC has a few answers here and here:

How often should a young child be allowed time on the computer, and for how long? As with all other activities, this is entirely for parents themselves to regulate. Ten minutes, three or four times a week is a good guide. It is not desirable for young children to sit in front of a screen for prolonged periods of time.

A recent report from Sheffield University suggests that by the age of four, 45% of children have used a mouse to point and click, 27% have used a computer on their own at home, rising to 53% for six-year-olds, and 30% have looked at websites for children at home.

However, the Child Computer Interaction Group (ChiCI), that studies the dynamic relationship between children and computers, feels that children should not start using computers too e…

Exposed: Human Skin goes Missing at Bodies Exhibition

Madame Tussaud's wax museum has life-like figures of famous people done in wax but the bodies on display at the Human Body Exhibitions worldwide are created from real human flesh and bones of dead human bodies that have been preserved so they do not decay.

You will see muscles, brain, eyes, lungs, internal body organs, even a preserved fetus but no human skin. The bodies depict the internal state of muscles, bones and other organ during routine activities like reading, playing soccer, standing on his feet or holding a tennis racquet.

The human specimen are preserved according to standard mortuary science then immersed in acetone, which eliminates all body water. A visit to Bodies Exhihibition will probably change the way you think about your body beneath the skin. Human Anatomy turned into a visual art.

Bodies Exhibition - Not for the faint hearted.

Check out these vidoes from the Body Exhibition: Part 1 | Part 2

Need a Cheap Lady (New or Used) ? Try Ebay

We have seen African Slaves and Homeless People being sold on eBay before but here's something even more weird.

Lady - Low Prices, New and Used - Buy It Cheap On eBay

That's precisely what an Ebay adverisment said which I noticed on one of the Google sites (screenshot attached). I know nothing about the landing page of this ad but Google seriously needs more Ad Quality Raters to prevent such shocks in future.

Now something to cool you off: Sakshi points to an interesting quiz for women (Are you a Lady ?) that will reveal how much lady-factor is present in you. Called Blogthings, the results can even be integrated into your blog, Facebook or email.

And wait.. there's a similar quiz for men as well - Are you a Gentlemen ? I just confirmed that I am a total gentleman :)

Dear Yahoo, I use Firefox, not Netscape

Do you use Mozilla Firefox ? Then pay a visit to the Yahoo! Music website and you're in for a surprise when you to tune it any Yahoo! Music Radio station (LaunchCast).

Yahoo will popup an error message saying "Sorry, we do not support Netscape on the Windows platform." - Can someone please help Yahoo upgrade their browser detection scripts ?

According to Yahoo! Music help, LAUNCHcast is compatible only with Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.x for Windows and Yahoo! doesn't support LAUNCHcast Radio for Macintosh or with Firefox on Windows.

Absolutely fine but why are they trying to confuse web users by showing them wrong information about their browser name. I won't be surprised if my grandma starts calling Firefox as Netscape because Yahoo told her so.

Tech Note: Netscape 7.x was initially developed using Mozilla's Gecko software code base but the more recent Netscape 8.0 series is actually based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.x code base.

What is the Best Way to Prevent Email Spam ? Truly Ingenious Method

If you ask any computer expert about effective ways to prevent spam from hitting your inbox, he is likely to suggest some of these tricks:

» Don't post your email address on message boards or mailing list.

» Maintain two separate email aliases - one for business and important email and other one for subscribing to mailing lists and web forums (called throw away email)

» Don't publish your email addres directly on the homepage - use Email Obfuscators.

» Provide a fake email address to websites that require mandatory registration before you download software or read their archives.

While some of the approaches may work for you, they also tend to increase the workload - how would you keep a track of so many email addresses ? Or you may miss participating in a useful discussion mailing list because your fear that others will know your email id. So what is the workaround ?

One of latest techniques to prevent spam is by creating a disposable email address that stays active just for a pre…

Email links to specific points inside an MP3 audio file.

Let's say you listened to an MP3 file (like a technology podcast show or an indie band performance) that you would also like your friends to hear. Only problem is that the MP3 file is over an hour long and the interesting stuff plays only after the 12 minute mark.

Your friend is a busy person and you don't want him to listen the first 12 minutes which are boring. So when you email that MP3 URL to him or her, how do you ensure that the music file or podcast show begins to play only at the 12 minute mark and automatically stops playing after 3 minutes 45 seconds ?

This is actually very easy to achieve now using Odeo Studio which recently added support for Audio Markers, a concept similar to Google Video markers.

Audio Markers make it possible for Odeo users to link to a specific point in the podcast so that the MP3 file begins to play only from that particular location, skipping all the content before that time.

In the following example, I have taken the audio from an interview wit…

Labnol Earnings - How much money do I make from AdSense?

Recently, a lot of people have asked me about how much I earn from this blog and what kind of traffic do I get. The frequency of such questions increased exponentially following the ban of Indian blogs, which in a way, helped in raising blog awareness in India.

Maybe, their interest in my web income and site stats stems from the fact that I quit my job with a software company to become a full time blogger.

Before I discuss my figures and stats, let me share an interesting related story published today on Washington Post that talks about a few websites making a fortune with Adsense:

» Andrew Leyden of receives nearly a million hits and makes around $30,000 to $40,000.

» owners make $100,000 a month from a site that provides readymade web design templates for

» SeatGuru sites gets 700,000 visitors a month and makes about $10,000 to $20,000 a month from Adsense alone.

OK, back to my numbers. I am not very comfortable revealing the exac…

Microsoft Makes MSDN Library free, Charges Buck Fifty for Office 2007 Beta

Microsoft Developers, rejoice - offline version of MSDN Library (encyclopedia of MS Developers), which was previously available only to premium MSDN subscribers, is now free to download for anyone at the Microsoft Website.

The current download is the May 2006 Edition but all future editions of MSDN Library will also be available for free. [source, download link]

On the flip side, Microsoft has decided to start charging users $1.50 per download of the beta version of Microsoft Office 2007 to "offset bandwidth costs".

Though it for the first time that Microsoft is charging users to download trial or beta software, it fill probably reduce the download numbers. [source, download link]

Vishing is Phishing over Traditional Phones

Phishing emails, disguised as coming from a legitimate banks, trick innocent web users into submitting credit card details and other financial information to counterfeit Web sites.

But now a more dangerous form of phishing has emerged on the internet. Dubbed "Vishing" or "Vhishing" or "Voice Phishing", this new type of scam makes use of the phone to get your personal financial information for fraudulent use.

This is the screenshot of a real Vishing Email asking for Paypal information [courtesy Bankrate]

How Vishing works ? First, you get an email message saying the security of your bank account is compromised and you have to dial a 1-800 number to verify the account information.

Once you fall in the trap and dial the number mentioned in the e-mail, you are asked, using automated messages, to type your 16-digit card number. The call can then be used to harvest additional details such as security PIN, expiry date, date of birth, bank account number, etc.


Sweet Dreams: 13 Tips for a Great Night Sleep

Seeking sound sleep ? Try these tips for good night sleep:

» Throw your TV set and the computer out of the bedroom.

» Take a cool shower before jumping into the bed.

» Wear loose cotton clothes (preferable white) - no denims or trousers please.

» Fix a sleeping schedule and stick to the routine honestly.

» Is the pillow good enough ? In a lot of cases, pillows and incomforable mattress may lead to sleep disorders.

» Reduce intake of spices, chocolates and caffeine, especially after lunchtime.

» The old granny's trick - take a glass of warm milk just before going to bed.

 » If you are worried about something that preventing your from sleeping, try to think of ways to resolve it. Opening a discussion with the partner may help.

» Do some physical work or Yoga exercises some 3-4 hours before the sleeping time.

» There should be a healthy gap between your dinner and sleeping time.

» Sex with your partner before bedtime will also aid in getting a good sleep.

» If your mind is flooded …

Google Alphabets Wheel: English Alphabets in Google Search Results

(all figures on the Google Wheel are in billions)

Inspired heavily by Google Number Wheel that's a brainchild of Philipp Lenssen, here's a different version of Google Wheel for English Alphabets.

It is easy to read the graph. Each pie segment on the circle denotes the number of Google search results for a particular alphabet. For instance, Google Web search returned 24 billion documents containing the alphabet "a" while just 1.7 billion results for alphabet "q".

The graph was plotted using Zohosheet charts because I was finding it tough to create a readable pie chart in Microsoft Excel with this data. Thanks Zoho again.

Learn the Netstat Command To Understand Your Internet Connections Better

Who is connecting to my computer ? Why is my PC suddenly transferring so much data ? Where is it sending the data to ? Are there some zombie process or spyware running in the background that's actively making connections to the internet without my knowledge ? Why did my internet connection get so slow ?

If you are connected to the internet and any of the above questions trouble your mind, all you need to do is learn Netstat [network statistics], a hidden DOS Command that helps you keep an eye on your internet and network connections (both incoming and outgoing)

You can run the netstat command from directly from DOS command prompt window. We will not go into any technical details but directly jump to practical examples of using the Netstat command in real world situations:

How do I know who is connecting to my computer from the internet ?

netstat -p TCP

To display a list of external machines (IP address or Machine names with Port Number) that your computer is connnected to. If you wish …

Who Has The Time to Fill PC Magazine Surveys ?

While browsing the PC Magazine website ( today, I got a popup message requesting me to fill a "quick survey".

While all big websites routinely ask readers to fill surveys and I almost always complete them sincerely, I had to decline this particular PCMag survey for a simple but valid reason - I didn't have so much time at my disposal. See the screenshot below:

What is Flip4Mac WMV Player ?

A lot of audio and video content on the internet is available only in Windows Media WMV format which cannot be played on Mac computers with Quicktime player.

Microsoft did develop a Mac version of Windows Media Player 9 but it failed to find a good audience in the Mac community.

Therefore, Microsoft has teamed up with another company called Flip4Mac that provides Windows Media video and audio playback capabilities in the QuickTime Player for Mac OS X.

So Flip4Mac is not a new name for Windows Media Mac Player but it lets you play Windows Media Files (.wma and .wmv) inside the Apple QuickTime player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a Web browser.

Flip4Mac provides Windows Media playback for free but you may have to upgrade to be able to import Windows Media files for editing and create Windows Media files for distribution.

Download Flip4Mac | Windows Media Mac | Flip4Mac Universal

You May Never Know When IE7 Enters Your Computer

Microsoft is planning to extend the Windows Automatic Updates program to distribute new versions of essential software in addition to the regular security patches.

Internet Explorer 7, slated for release in the next couple of months, will be the first Microsoft software to be automatically distributed via the Microsoft Update program.

Since IE7 will be available as high priority update, Windows XP users who have enabled security updates delivery will see their IE6 browser upgraded to IE7 when they pay a visit to the Windows Update Center.

While this may be a good move by Microsoft, it could backfire when people are on a dialup connection - their internet lines may get clogged when the bulky IE7 installer starts downloading over the low speed internet connection.

I think Microsoft should prompt users with low bandwidth connections to download a standalone IE7 installer instead of the regular updates since if the connection breaks, the download can be resumed which is not possible in Auto…

New Google Talk Has File Sharing and Voicemail

You can now send unlimited files and folders to your friends through Google Talk and there is no restriction on the file type or size.

Here are some of the new features of Google Talk

» File transfer: Send unlimited files & folders to your chat friends.
» Voicemail: Leave voice messages when your friend's not around. They’ll get your message sent as email attachment.
» Music status: You can let your friends know about the music you’re currently listening to.

The updated software is not available on the GTalk homepage yet but Alex Chitu [who tracks Google like a hawk] has successfully managed to unearth the secret download location. [Thanks Philipp]

Just yesterday, I wrote about a new Skype profile for Snagit that lets you share screenshots with other Skype contacts. And today Google has secretly released a new version of Google Talk that also support file sharing.

So Techsmith Developers are going to have a busy weekend if they decide to port the Snagit Skype profile t…

World Map Depicts International Differences in Happiness

Denmark, the smallest country in the Scandinavian region, is home to some of the happiest people in the world followed by Switzerland and Austria.

Congo, Zimbabwe and Burundi are inhabited by some of the least happy minds.

Download World Map of Happiness - Intensity of Red Color Denotes Level of Happiness.

Happiness is being healthy, wealthy and wise according to Adrian White, of the University of Leicester in England who is one of map creators.

The scientists revealed that the map had thrown up many interesting results, including the relatively low performance of Asian economic powers China, Japan and India.

Happiness World Map | Leicester Press Release | CNN

Google Telecommuting Job Openings - Work from Anywhere for Google

Google is looking for Ads Quality Rater who can work from home for Google through Internet.
As an Ads Quality Rater, you will be responsible for reporting and tracking the visual quality and content accuracy of Google advertisements. Ads Quality Raters use an online tool to examine advertising-related data of different kinds and provide feedback and analysis to Google. Projects worked on may involve examining and analyzing text, web pages, images, and other kinds of information. You will need an in depth and up-to-date familiarity with English-speaking web culture and media. Additionally, you will apply this knowledge to a broad range of interests and topics. Ads Quality Raters possess excellent written communication skills and web analytic capabilities. You will be required to work 10-20 hours a week on a self-directed schedule.

Evaluate the accuracy of Google search engine results. Communicate effectiveness of web layouts and information via the online tool. Require…

Sharing Desktop Screen Captures with Skype Contacts

Skype already allows users to easily share documents, pictures or any other file formats using the Skype File Transfer.

To make things more simpler for Skype users who frequently share screenshots over Skype, Techsmith has released a free Skype profile for SnagIt that makes it a one-click process.

Once you capture the screenshot with Snagit, choose a Skype contact and the image will be immediately relayed to him without you having to save the file or initiating the Skype file transfer.

The advantage of using Skype over other IM clients like Yahoo or MSN Messenger is that Skype allows sharing of fairly large files (upto 4GB) and Skype works across multiple file platforms, so you can even send an image from a Windows PC to someone using a Mac or Linux system.

Related: Live Screen Sharing over Skype

How Skype Profile for SnagIt works ?

Download Skype Profile for SnagIt

10 Interesting Things You Can Do with YouTube Videos

Unless you are staying in an underground cave for more than a year without an internet connection, there's a healthy chance that you have at least watched, if not downloaded, an online video on Youtube or Google Videos.

The online video sharing space has exploded in the recent months with the entry of new players like Metacafe,, Revver, Yahoo Videos and so on. Millions of video clips, technology shows, music albums, movie trailers are available on these video sites for online viewing or they can also be downloaded to your hard drive for offline viewing.

The downloaded video files are generally in FLV format (Flash Video) which is an Adobe standard for video compression. It has fast becoming the web standard for delivering online video (replacing Apple QuickTime, AVI, Windows Media and Real rm formats) because Flash Video can be viewed inside Macromedia Flash Players which is shipped by default with most web browsers. [Flash Video Editing Guide]

A lot of us know how to down…

Macromedia Director 2007 is Getting Ready

When Adobe acquired Macromedia last year, software pundits were doubtful if Macromedia Director would be able to survive the merger. Some even predicted that Adobe would shift the important features of Director to Macromedia Flash and abandon any future development of Macromedia Director.

But there's some good news for the Macromedia Director Community - Both Director software and the Shockwave Player are very much alive and growing. This was communicated by Adobe's Product Manager for Director and the Shockwave Player, Tom Higgins.

According to Tom, the next major release of Director will be available in the first half of 2007. Macromedia Director will be updated to run natively on Intel-based Macintosh computers and on the Windows Vista operating system.

The community has finally some news to cheer about.

Tom Higgins | Director is Not Dead

Start a Consulting Business Online with Ether, Get Paid Per Hour

Do friends and local neighbours often ring you for advice on buying a computer or starting a blog or SEO tricks or how to find something on Google ? You are probably a local geek and have full potential to earn money for your expertise.

While I am not suggesting you to start charging money from relatives in return of help, you can consider monetizing your skill-set by setting up your own professional consulting business online and reaching a wider set of people.

First you fix your own consulting rate (either per hour or per call), then people seeking advice give you a call over the regular phone and once they are satisfied and hang-up the phone, the equivalent payment is automatically transferred to your bank account from the client's account.

Sounds complicated ? Believe me, it is not - All you have to do is get a free Ether Phone Number, set your consulting rate and fix the time of the day when you are available for consultation. Ether will manage the whole show.

People (Clients) …

The Man Who Invented Ctrl-Alt-Del Keyboard Shortcut

Control-Alt-Delete is a very popular keyboard shortcut for rebooting a Windows PC, NT logon or for invoking the Windows Task Manager in XP systems.

The time saving Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard combination was designed by David Bradley, a designer of the original IBM PC.

Bradley originally designed Control-Alt-Escape to trigger a soft reboot, but he found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally.

He switched the key combination to Control-Alt-Delete, a combination impossible to press with just one hand.

Bradley did not intend Control-Alt-Delete to be used by end users - it was meant to be used by people writing programs or documentation, so that they could reboot their computers without powering them down. But the key combination went on to become a cultural icon especially for hiding the Windows 95 BSOD.

David Bradley describes how he invented CTRL-ALT-DEL - Quicktime Video

Read more about David Bradley at Wikipedia.

How to Clean a DVD or CD Disc ?

Here are a few handy tips to clean your priceless collection of CDs and DVD discs.

But before you try any of these methods, remember that the disc media is very delicate and you may unintentionally damage the shiny reflective surface if you are not careful:

 » If dust particles are sticking to the CD surface, use a piece of soft cloth to wipe off the dust. To hold the CD, insert a finger or thumb inside the center hole of the CD or handle it by the edges but never touch the shiny surface.

 » If the DVD surface feels sticky or greasy, mix some baby shampoo in lukewarm water and use cotton or soft cloth to gently rub the CD surface with this solution. Make sure the CD is completely dry (no water drops) before putting it back in the jewel case.

 » If there are fingerprint marks on the CD surface, dip a soft cloth in Isopropyl Alcohol/Ethanol/Methanol and gently wipe the surface. Never use a petroleum based solvent like Acetone as that will permanently damage the CD surface.

 » When none of t…

How to Deal with Online Plagiarism: When People Copy your Blog Articles Without Permission

What should you do when someone copies an article from your blog or steals your website graphics without permission? How can you prevent online plagiarism? What legal action can you take against sites that copy your web content ?

Recently some registered web domain and created a mirror copy of my technology blog including the site design. All the blog articles and reader comments were copied verbatim without any attribution or credit.

His scripts were continuously monitoring the contents of this site and any changes here were reflected almost immediately on his site. After couple of interactions with the person behind the site, his hosting company and some excellent suggestions from Darren - that offending site is now removed.

Here are the various steps and approaches that helped me get the website removed for plagiarizing content without permission and attribution.

How to be a detective and find if someone is copying my content ?

Try to find a sentence in your articles th…

Digital Bikini Reduces Risk of Skin Cancer

Next summer, when you are lying on the beach next to lady who's enjoying skin tan, don't be surprised if you hear some voices originating from here bikini.

The sounds are just warning signals that she had enough sun tan and it's time for her to either cover up or go inside.

Skin Tanning has certain benifits but excess exposure to the sun also increases the risk of skin cancer and sun burns.

Responding to popular demand particularly from Australia and South Africa, which have the world's highest skin cancer rates, a swimwear company has released a new bikini with a UV meter built into its belt and an alarm that beeps to tell wearers when to head to the shade.

Time for you to enjoy the sun tan without any worries.

SmartSwim UV Bikinis | Let your bikini do the talking

CNN Offers Tips for Shooting Great Videos & Pictures

What's happening Where You Are ? Send your Breaking News I-Report to CNN - If you have a story tip or a news event to share, head straight to the CNN website.

CNN is calling readers (aka, citizen journalist) to upload pictures and videos shot with their mobile phones and cameras to the CNN Exchange website. The CNN editorial staff reviews all submitted content and if approved, your content may get selected for broadcasting over the CNN network

Now even if you don't have anything great to share with CNN, you may still pay a visit their site for improving your shooting skills. CNN has released an handy guide called "Trade Secrets" for amateur citizen journalists that has some nice tips and precautions for taking pictures, shooting videos or recording audio.

If you are planning to produce your own podcast or vidcast shows, this is a must visit destination.

Links to CNN Tips: [pdf documents]

Shooting Photographs | Shooting Great Video | Recording Great Audio

Related Resources…

Technorati Favorites 3.0: Bookmark Privacy is Now Dead

Technorati today received a much needed upgrade - if you don't have the time to read that lengthy CEO announcement, I suggest you watch this 5 minute screencast video that touches the new and improved features of Technorati 3.0.

But don't be too excited, Technorati still doesn't provide RSS feeds for tags or search results though you can create watchlists for search keywords or URL and then subscribe to their feeds. Only available when you are signed into Technorati Account (read David Sifry's comment)

One area where Technorati Engineers have applied maximum thought is Technorati Favorites - The service has been totally revamped and is definitely more usable now.

Technorati Favorites: What's New
You can add new blogs or websites to Technorati Favorites using bookmarklets, Technorati Button or by directly typing the blog URL. Tags can also be associated with bookmarks favorites to further classify them. If you have a large number of favorite XML feeds, they can be impo…

EBay Can Be a Dangerous Place for Adsense Newbies

"AdSense - the hottest way to earn money on internet at the moment" - says one auction. Ebay is flooded with such auctions of Adsense eBooks and Videos, Adsense Ready Websites and Templates that promise you Instant Adsense Cash without any efforts or sometimes even without a website.

I won't comment if any of the Adsense books or videos would help in improving Adsense earning, but there are some more risky Adsense related goods on ebay that may actually get you banned from the Google Adsense program.

Here are some Adsense auctions on eBay that may not be safe:

Google AdSense Toolbar 1.0 : Get 1000'S of Legal Clicks Daily to your Adsense Ads! The Adsense Toolbar is the best solution to make a large amount of money from Adsense for Search without paying expensive advertisement or traffic costs. [$25]

Adsense Web site which makes me $40,000 Per Month : Own a copy of my website which earns me over $40,000 per month. [$127]

Guaranteed Unlimited Legal Adsense/PPC Clicks : T…

iLane lets you Check & Reply to emails While Driving the Car

iLane is a small bluetooth device, compatible with Blackberry or Palm, which alerts the car driver about new incoming email messages and then reads them for the driver in a natural sounding voice.

The driver can then listen to the entire email message; forward or compose a response; and manage meeting requests using verbal instructions. Phone calls, SMS messages and a number of email attachment types can also be managed using this intelligent hands-free and eyes-free interface.

If you are driving with your wife, make sure you set the email filters right else iLane may start reading messages that you really don't want your partner to hear, atleast while you are around.

More information: iLane FAQ | How iLane Works

News Source: Press Release | Wired | PCWorld

The Biggest Professional Blunders: Dare to disclose

What has been the most embarrassing moment for you on the job or the worst mistake that you ever made during your career?

It is always tough to accept mistakes but Becky Roberts has dared to jot down her most appalling professional mistakes, along with the painful but invaluable lessons learned - Confessions of an IT pro

Her confessions include deleting important files, going live on a trial software, taking backups for granted and ignoring the free training programs. Interesting read.

My most embarrasing moment during the job was when I accidently sent a personal email to the entire global staff because my friend's name was similar to the "all staff" email alias.

Laptops May Spoil Vacation Mood

On your next Hawaii Vacation with wife and kids, don't carry the laptop along else you may get tempted to check your emails while the kids enjoy the pool.

According to a recent survey, 43% of Americans have admitted to working during their vacations and a quarter said theyspent three or more hours working during vacation.

Most said they were committed to the job or had a pressing assignment, while 10% cited an inability to relax until things were taken care of.

Also, laptop computers have replaced the cellular phone as the most useful tool for working on holiday.

Source: Laptops in tow, more Americans work on vacation

Whirlpool Introduces Wireless Washing To Save Laundary Time

Relax in the comfort of your living room sofa or sip a cup of coffee at the nearest Starbucks store while your clothes are being washed and dried.

You can control all the function of your washing machine remotely. When the wash is complete, you will be informed via SMS, email or an alert on the Television set.

Dubbed as Laundry Time, this new technology links Washers and dryers wirelessly to internet-connected home networks. Consumers receive updates on their dirty laundry via mobile phones, computers and TV sets.

Messages not only indicate when a wash is complete but also can warn that a lint filter is clogged or a load is too large. Users can remotely command the machines to fluff dry clothes or start a load from a distance after being told - oops - they forgot to start the wash.

The next target consumer appliance is Dishwashers.

The project, which involves Whirlpool, Panasonic and Microsoft relies on a wireless network, two TV tuners and Microsoft Media Server software to send the deta…

Microsoft Windows XP SP2b Makes an Appearance

While Windows XP SP3 is not expected before Windows Vista, Microsoft has quietly released an update to XP SP2 called Windows XP SP2b that is now available in software stores across the world.

The City Software store is even selling Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC with SP2B OEM CDs.

Source: More Computers | Neowin | Akiba

Download Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)

How to Launch a Country Specific Blog Search Engine: Revisiting the Idea

The current breed of Blogs & XML Feed Search Engines from Technorati, Google, Yahoo or (Bloglines) allow you to filter blog search results either by language or you can restrict search to posts that were published during the the past three, six, or twelve month periods.

But none of the popular blog search engines can help you find results filtered by country or city (i.e., the geographic location of the blogger) - You cannot limit your search to just Indian Blogs or New York Blogs.

Last month, I wrote a small trick that makes it possible to create a local blog search engine without any investment. The trick uses Technorati Country or City Tags which Bloggers can attach to their blogs and then claim their blog on Technorati. [an example]

The idea was later picked by some prominent Indian Blogs [Patrix, Kaps, DesiPundit] and today we have some 1800 blogs about India in Technorati. The blog count was around 1200 initially.

Why I am discussing the old idea again ?

A drawback of th…

Get A Google Dress for Your Apple iPod

Google can help you change the look of your Apple iPod and can also protect your favorite gadget from scratches.

They have recently released UV coated vinyl wraps for iPod Nano, iPod 4th Generation, and the video iPod. The iPod wraps are cheap but the body artwork look more like a Google Advertisement.

If you are no big fan of Google, I suggest you visit the inPODnito store for better iPod wrap designs. Infact, the Google iPod Wraps are also manufactured by inPODnito who have an interesing tagline - Stamping out iPod Nudity Worldwide.

How to use an iPod wrap ? Watch this detailed video that shows how to peel the iPod wrap and stick it to the iPod body. Or check out these illustrations.

ColorPic: Free On-Screen Color Picker with Magnifier & Mixer

Iconico ColorPic for Windows is absolutley free but full of useful features for picking colors from desktop icons, Websites, Photographs or any other object displayed on the computer screen.

As you move the curson across the screen, color picker displays the corresponding color values in Hex and Decimal formats. Once you click a location, the color is stored in the color palette which can later be enhanced using the mixer sliders or you can snap it to the near websafe value.

You can also use the keyboard to type an exact value in any of the color value textboxes, including the Hue, Saturation and Value textboxes.

Highly recommened for Website Designers and Graphic professionals.

ColorPic Website | Download ColorPic

Share Your Personalized Google News Page with Friends

Google News allows you to create a Personal Newspaper that tracks only topics that interest you. This "personal edition" can be shared either with friends or you can just bookmark it to read the news on a different computer without loosing any of the News layouts settings or customizations.

The following hack can also help your maintain multiple versions of Personalized Google Pages on a single computer. And all this can be done without even signing up for a Google Account - you can do it anonymously - just follow the three step tutorial below:

Step 1: Open and click the "Personalize this Page" link. Here you may add new sections, delete existing ones or include new search keyword or a group of keywords using boolean operators. Here's an example of how the section might look after you add your own news topics (or keywords)

If you have already have a Personalized Google News account, skip this step.

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the screen …

Reuters Video Player for Embedding News Videos in Websites

Your site visitors can now watch live news streams from Reuters without even leaving your website.

Reuters News Agency today released a free Flash based Interactive Video News Player (see screenshot) which can be embedded inside any blog or website.

The streaming videos are based on the BrightCove technology, a popular Internet TV service.

The new video players are available in two different sizes but have the same content; up to 20 video stories at any given time covering breaking news and world news. The video player remains free to use, Reuters will sell 15 or 30 second pre-roll video ads across the network to offset costs.

To apply for the Reuters Affiliate program, click here if you are based in the US else click here.

  » Embed News Videos in Your Blog | Embed Streaming Video in Web Pages

How to Keep Your Public Speech or Podcast Interview free of ums and ahs

One of the hallmarks of a professional teacher, trainer, or public speaker is that his or her speech just f-l-o-w-s as naturally as possible, and is relatively or completely free from extraneous filler words ("like", "you know", "umm").

The Mother Tongue Annoyances blog on English Communication offers a simple but effective trick for improving public speaking skills by keeping the vocal pauses such as 'ums' or 'ahs' in your speech under control.

The idea is to record your conversations or speech and then listen it over and over again. ..when you hear how many times you use filler words, it will rattle you to your core, and you'll develop a newfound self-awareness that will help stanch your subconscious desire to use these filler words during your next class or public speaking event.While this advice is primarily meant for public speakers, teachers and lecturers, it should help everyone including podcasters.

How to Lose the 'ums'…

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo: Proper English Sentence

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo is Proper English accoring to William J. Rapaport. He explains his version on the Parsing Challenges list:

where to buffalo = to bully around, to do a snow job on. (Poetic license if you think that buffalo can't buffalo other buffalo.) Of course, there's also the optional plural of buffaloes as mere buffalo, with no plural marker.

Then, of course, you can make it more interesting by considering the buffalo in the Buffalo zoo, the Buffalo buffalo. And their peculiar way of buffaloing other Buffalo buffalo, so peculiar that, like the Tennessee waltz which you do by Tennessee waltzing, they Buffalo buffalo those other Buffalo buffalo:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Source: Reddit News

Remove People from a Photograph without Phototoshop

Tourist remover is an online photo editing tool that easily removes unwanted objects from a picture without requiring you to master the expensive Photoshop program.

Just capture multiple photos from the same scene and the Tourist Remover program would blend them into a composite photo without any interfering elements.

Related: How to choose an Online Photo Editor

Microsoft Working on a New RSS Icon Design

It may be possible that Microsoft is planning to reinvent the standard RSS icon design.

Earlier, Microsoft RSS Team officially picked the Firefox Orange RSS Icon to represent XML Feeds in IE to encourage consistency between browsers but today, I noticed a different design of the RSS icon in one the official Microsoft blogs.

The new Microsoft RSS Icon design (80x60 pixels as shown above) borrows the illustration and color scheme from the Mozilla RSS icon but adds a text "RSS" over it.

This icon graphic is actually enclosed inside a post on the Inside Office Online blog which incidentally, is about RSS feeds for the new Office Online website.

LinkScanner: Scan Websites for Malicious Content Without Visting Them

"Hey, This free website has a wonderful collection of video clips from Hollywood blockbusters. Do check it out" - When you receive this kind of an email from a friend or some stranger, you are very tempted to click the URL to check the contents of the site but at the same time, you are in big doubt whether it is safe to visit the site.

Luckily here's a free tool that can confirm or reject your doubts about that link which you are so desperate to click.

Linkchecker is a free online service that should help you in such dilemma situations. Just type in the site URL and LinkChecker would visit the website for you and report back the contents if there's a risk factor involved in visiting the site.

LinkChecker is useful when you need to check just a single website address. LinkScanner scans only the page entered, not any secondary pages or sites linked to from the URL.

If you are looking for a similar solution that can automatically scan search engine results, I would suggest